By Zach Walker
SMU Mustangs vs. #20 Navy Midshipmen
Saturday – November 14 – 2:30 pm CT
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium – Annapolis, Maryland
Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs: 1-8 (0-5 in AAC)
#20 Navy Midshipmen: 7-1 (5-0 in AAC)
Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: The Mustangs are coming into this game with an extra day of preparation, because they faced Temple last Friday. The Mustangs are coming off of a game that nearly had them pulling an upset, by being down just five points with a smig over three minutes to go in the game. Matt Davis ran the ball as a man trying to pull his team from the depths and led his team in rushing. Behind him was Xavier Jones, who also toted the rock nicely. The team racked up 185 rushing yards, 397 total yards, and a season high for Temple to give up 40 points. The most impressive thing, they played well, without releasing their biggest gun, Courtland Sutton, who only had two catches but had a hell of dart for a huge first down that led to points. They had two turnovers, and as it has been all season, when the Mustangs aren’t forcing turnovers, and putting themselves behind the eight ball, they just can’t overcome their own odds. Like the offense, the Midshipmen defense is just sort of a working thing. No one man more important, just team football to a T. They’ve forced 17 turnovers this season, and every time they forced the ball to the turf, they’ve jumped on it. The Mustangs must be a team that’s going to stress ball security for the rest of the season, especially at the Naval Academy. ADVANTAGE: PUSH – I think the Navy defense can make stops, but I think the SMU offense has grooved for two straight games.
When Navy has the ball: I’m a fan of ripping the ball around the field with a gunslinger quarterback, but I love things that work, and the Navy offense is probably my favorite. Run the ball, then run the ball, then run the ball, after that, run the ball some more. It’s so simple, yet so powerful. The game flows through Keenan Reynolds, who has 56 passing attempts through eight games. Tells the tale of the tape, right. The offense is a pre-snap movement based, option offense and the key is a different outlet for the ball, or at least making the defense think that ball is going somewhere new. Reynolds is responsible for nearly half of the yards gained by Navy. Fullback Chris Swain has gained a quarter of the offense, and it’s sweet to see fullback getting in on the action. I have my doubts that a team that has had such a poor season resume of tackling can make the stops required to derail the Navy offense. ADVANTAGE: NAVY – Poor tackling has doomed SMU in the past.
What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Simple: Tackle and don’t turn the ball over. Hell of a formula.
Prediction: Navy 42 – SMU 30